Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny fuel cell might replace batteries in laptop computers, portable electronics

13.09.2006
If you're frustrated by frequently losing battery power in your laptop computer, digital camera or portable music player, then take heart: A better source of "juice" is in the works.

Chemists at Arizona State University in Tempe have created a tiny hydrogen-gas generator that they say can be developed into a compact fuel cell package that can power these and other electronic devices -- from three to five times longer than conventional batteries of the same size and weight.

The generator uses a special solution containing borohydride, an alkaline compound that has an unusually high capacity for storing hydrogen, a key element that is used by fuel cells to generate electricity. In laboratory studies, a prototype fuel cell made from this generator was used to provide sustained power to light bulbs, radios and DVD players, the researchers say.

The fuel cell system can be packaged in containers of the same size and weight as conventional batteries and is recharged by refilling a fuel cartridge, they say. Research on these battery replacement fuel cells, which they claim are safer for the environment than regular batteries, was described today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

"We're trying to maximize the usable hydrogen storage capacity of borohydride in order to make this fuel cell power source last longer," says study leader Don Gervasio, Ph.D., a chemist at the University's Biodesign Institute, Center for Applied NanoBioScience. "That could lead to the longest lasting power source ever produced for portable electronics."

One of the challenges in fuel cell development is finding hydrogen-rich compounds for the fuel source. Many different hydrogen sources have been explored for use in fuel cells, including metal hydride "sponges" and liquids such as gasoline, methanol, ethanol and even vegetable oil.

Recently, borohydride has shown promise as a safe, energy-dense hydrogen storage solution. Unlike the other fuel sources, borohydride works at room temperature and does not require high temperatures in order to liberate hydrogen, Gervasio says.

Gervasio and his associates are developing novel chemical additives to increase the useful hydrogen storage capacity of the borohydride solution by as much as two to three times that of simple aqueous sodium borohydride solutions that are currently being explored for fuel cell development. These additives prevent the solution from solidifying, which could potentially clog or damage the hydrogen generator and cause it to fail.

In developing the prototype fuel cell system, the researchers housed the solution in a tiny generator containing a metal catalyst composed of ruthenium metal. In the presence of the catalyst, the borohydride in the water-based solution reacts with water to form hydrogen gas.

The gas leaves the hydrogen generator by moving across a special membrane separating the generator from the fuel cell component. The hydrogen gas then combines with oxygen inside the fuel cell to generate water and electricity, which can then be used to power the portable electronic device. Commercialization of a practical version of this fuel cell could take as many as three to five years, Gervasio says.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries
28.02.2017 | Washington State University

nachricht Researchers pave the way for ionotronic nanodevices
23.02.2017 | Aalto University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>